Venezuela’s new leader plans to visit Moscow

Nikita Sorokin, The Voice of Russia – Venezuela’s new President will visit Moscow in early June. This might be trigger debate between skeptics and optimists who assess the prospects for Russian weapon export to Latin America.

In the past seven years, Russia supplied a huge amount of various kinds of weapons, including fighter jets, artillery systems, mobile missile systems for coastal guards, S-300V air defence systems. According to experts, at present, in terms of the level of equipment, the Venezuelan army is ready for a successful military campaign against an enemy relatively comparable with any neighbouring country.

For one, head of the state-run “Rostekhnology” Corporation Sergei Chemezov has recently said that Venezuela is over supplied with weapons and Russia has no plans to make new supplies to the country. Moreover, Venezuela’s budget is substantially exhausted not only due to rearmament, says head of the laboratory of the Institute of Latin America Victor Semeonov in an interview with the Voice of Russia.

“Venezuela’s defence contracts are estimated at about $11 billion. In 2012, all financial resources were directed at assuring victory to Hugo Chavez at the presidential elections in October and to his supporters at the regional elections in December. Venezuela spent not only its resources but also loans. In the past years, China has lent out $36 billion to Venezuela. At present, the country’s budget deficit is about 13 percent and inflation rate is quite high and the GDP growth is almost zero. Naturally, in these circumstances, it will be very difficult for Venezuela to buy new weapons,” Victor Semeonov said.

At the same time, some analysts believe that Russian weapon export has not fulfilled Venezuela’s some defence requirements. Several years ago, at the time, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told reporters after his meeting with Hugo Chaves about Venezuela’s desire to buy naval armaments from Russia.

But the problem here is that in buying naval armaments, Venezuela is oriented to the European Union, says editor-in-chief of the “Natsionalnaya Oborona” magazine Igor Korotchenko in an interview with the Voice of Russia. Venezuela has established very close contacts with Spain, he said.

Further promotion of Venezuela’s military and technical partnership with Russia might disrupt new President Nicola Maduro to change the country’s foreign policy. The new Venezuelan leader’s two-day visit to Moscow that will start on June 1 will clarify this situation.

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